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Ole Olsen: Orchestral Works / Halvorsen, Lindberg, Arctic Philharmonic

Release Date: 08/05/2012 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1968  
Composer:  Ole Olsen
Performer:  Christian Lindberg
Conductor:  Christian LindbergRune A. Halvorsen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.

Check Olsen's dates and revise your expectations. Perhaps you won't need to; I did. I sloppily assumed - without any evidence - that Olsen would have been another romantic in the line of Atterburg, Madetoja and Nystroem. No such thing. His music - fascinatingly brought to our ears by the Arctic Philharmonic and colleagues - has more in common with Grieg perhaps spliced with Saint-Saens and even Bizet.

Asgaardreien is darker as befits its images of Thor leading a furious horde of horses flying across the firmament. It's pretty much a Lisztian tone-poem in the manner of Hunnenschlacht and Tasso. There are
Read more a few moments where Olsen touches base with Mussorgsky's Night on a Bare Mountain and Berlioz's Witches Sabbath. The Trombone Concerto is one long undulating cantilena - bel canto for the tenor trombone soloist. Across three movements there is never an awkward corner. The writing is rounded and obviously indebted to the human voice. The concerto is lovingly shaped and flighted by Christian Lindberg who proves that while he is an advocate of the avant-garde he can spin a vivacious and seductive line with the very best. Good to see that the concerto is also available for French Horn. The Symphony is in four movements. The sound-world here moves between Glazunov, Mendelssohn and Saint-Saens. It’s an accomplished work but for me its charms lie in its light moods rather than in addressing the grand symphonic terrain. Pleasing rather than compelling stuff.

Olsen was newish to me - though I have in fact heard Sterling’s Olsen CD - but if you have a taste for say Raff or any of the other composers mentioned above perhaps with a tinge of Grieg then this is for you.

-- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International

Were it not for his sprightly sense of rhythm and freshly folk-like melodic inspiration, Ole Olsen's relentlessly cheerful music might strike you as just a touch insipid. As it is, these recognizably Norwegian works offer plenty of appealing inspiration. The Symphony, which dates from the 1870s, is not quite a typically conservative product of the Leipzig school (Olsen was there a decade after Grieg). His scoring for woodwinds and brass gives the work a distinctive tang, and despite lots of repetition in the outer movements the work's effusive emotional climate carries the day. Asgaardsreien, a splendid Lisztian tone-poem along the lines of that composer's Mazeppa, is the highlight of the disc. Its 10 minutes pass by in a blur of color and excitement, and its conclusion is thrilling. The Trombone Concerto is so pleasant that you may forget that you are listening to--a trombone concerto. Olsen spent much of his adult life in charge of Norway's military bands, and the experience shows. The performances here are excellent--as vivid and vital as the music itself. It would be very good to hear more of Olsen; apparently he wrote a lot, and he's far more interesting (on evidence here) than, say, Svendsen or Sinding.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Asgaardsreien, Op. 10 by Ole Olsen
Conductor:  Christian Lindberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Concerto for Trombone in F major, Op. 48 by Ole Olsen
Performer:  Christian Lindberg (Trombone)
Conductor:  Rune A. Halvorsen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886 
Symphony no 1 in G major, Op. 5 by Ole Olsen
Conductor:  Rune A. Halvorsen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874 

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